10 Things You Didn’t Know Could Prevent Cavities
Updated: Aug 18
If you already do the monotonous daily brushing, flossing, waterpik, mouthwash, remineralization products that you're supposed to, you can be done reading. The rest of us 99%'ers (thank you Bernie Sanders for the reference), this is for you:
Here are 10 things you could easily do (no particular order) that is not as tedious or as hard a habit to start as say flossing every day would be. These methods substantially reduce your potential of getting cavities... assuming you already brush and floss every day. The more you do these items listed the better your chances of reducing the possibility of getting cavities
Chew gum with xylitol--Ideally 3-5 times a day especially after you snack, drink coffee, or eat a meal. It's a compound that destroys the cavity-causing bacteria and it helps you salivate more. This buffers your mouth from getting cavities too. Gums like Trident or Ice Cubes are far superior than sugar free gum and obviously better than sugar gum.
Drink water after eating--If gum isn't your thing, water is just as good. Drinking water when you've finished eating, snacking, or drinking coffee washes way the acids that cause cavities. Yes, even if food doesn't have added sugar in it you can still get cavities. Wash it out.
Stop snacking--sugar isn't the only factor that causes cavities. If you are sipping on coffee for a long period of time or grazing throughout the day you will likely get as many cavities as the person who eats candy each day. Your teeth can actually regenerate but it takes 30 minutes usually after your last bite or sip for it to start regenerating and if you keep snacking, the score will be: Cavities 1, you 0.
Brushing with baking soda 1x/day--Cavities form when your mouth is acidic. Baking soda is extremely alkaline (opposite of acidic) and makes it all that much harder for decay to form. We still recommend brushing with any regular toothpaste that has fluoride so if you brush with baking soda in the evening, use fluoride toothpaste in the morning.
Stop chewing and smoking--You've already been told your whole life to quit so I expound. Keeping it simple, just know that these habits do several things to your mouth. One primary challenge is it dehydrates you mouth making it harder for saliva to form. No saliva yeets cavities galore. It also provides an inadequate blood supply to your gums causing recession, loose teeth, bleeding gums, and bad breath. Enough said.
Probiotic milk or yogurt daily--Research is minimal and I wouldn't hang my hat on this one research but a study on children showed kids who daily drank probiotic milk for a year had 50% less cavities than those that didn't. I have a hard time finding probiotic milk here in Central Point but there's definitely probiotic yogurt easily at your disposal.
Tongue scraper--50% of all your bacteria in your mouth resides on the tongue. There are just as many bacteria on your mouth as people are in the world. That's more than 3 billion bacteria on your tongue alone. If you scrape it off once a day you will reduce at least 50% of the bacteria that can cause potential cavities.
Don’t rinse your mouth out with water after brushing or mouthwash--When you rinse your mouth with water immediately after brushing or using mouthwash, you're just washing all that medicine off your teeth. You want it to stay longer. Brush, spit, that's it.
Kiss someone that doesn’t have cavities--Studies have shown that moms with active cavities can spread their cavity-causing bacteria to their babies when kissing them. Likewise, if your significant other has atrocious teeth and yours are likely pristine, ease off on the intimacy.
Saliva is absolutely necessary to prevent cavities--Three types of patients have the most decay: 1) truckers and 2) diabetics (snacking frequently as a main causative factor) as well as 3) those patients with dry mouth! Dry mouthers commonly have the most aggressive cavities: we don't see the patient for 6 months then BAM, a mouth full of cavities. If you need water next to your bed at night or during the day you constantly feel parched, please reach out to us at Central Point Family Dentistry. It's crucial we get this controlled. Like cavities, it's multifactorial and not one product alone will cure your dry mouth completely. It needs to get controlled if you're not wanting more cavities.